Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Education for Swedish-Speaking Finns: Part Three

With Finnish independence came official bilingualism, and with this, the Swedish-speaking Finns pursued a policy of cultural autonomy and separatism.  Along with this came separate Swedish-speaking schools.  
The Constitution of Finland clearly defines the rights of education in the Swedish language.  In Section 17, the Constitution confirms the two national languages of Finland, and asserts the right to use the mother tongue in official capacities, such as courts of law and government documents. It also affirms the provision for cultural and societal necessities, on an equal basis, in the mother tongue.  

In 1920, with the founding of the Swedish Department in the Central Bureau of Schools, both Swedish schools and Finnish schools held, legally, an equal position.  

This advantageous minority position does not find  a parallel with the Finnish-speaking minority in Sweden.  

Click here and here and here for pictures of signs in both the Finnish and Swedish languages.  

Click here for a map of Finland showing the Swedish-speaking areas.  

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